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Public to be consulted over plans to axe Bracknell's retained firefighters

Published: 5 May 2014 09:302 comments

PLANS to scrap the use of retained firefighters in Bracknell are set to be put out to public consultation.

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If this proposal is eventually approved by the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS), eight of the staff based at the station in Downshire Way would be made redundant, saving £46,500 a year on wages and £12,000 on running the fire engine.

Firefighters at Wokingham Fire Station – which is manned 24 hours a day – would act as the first response to incidents in the Bracknell area when Bracknell’s only full-time crew is not on duty.

A report commissioned by the fire authority said there would be a minimal impact on its ability to tackle fires in Bracknell if the eight retained firefighters in the town were made redundant.

Under the fire service’s plans, two retained firefighters based in Ascot could also be made redundant. As four firefighters are needed for a crew, the town does not have its own dedicated team.

Options being considered include closing Ascot Fire Station, with nearby stations providing cover for the area, or transferring one of the full-time crews from Slough to Ascot.

The issues were discussed by the Royal Berkshire Fire Authority last Wednesday.

Ellie Gray, press officer at RBFRS, said: “The fire authority agreed to consult the public and staff on the proposals to disband the retained unit at Bracknell and that work to address the issues around cover at Ascot should continue. No date has been set for this to start yet, as it was only agreed at the meeting last week.”

Retained firefighters are 'on call' - they can have other jobs but are expected to attend incidents when called out.

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